Are there films similar to Somehere in Time (1980)?
May 20, 2021 8:37 AM   Subscribe

I am a fan of Somewhere in Time (1980) - (a huge fan of the late Christopher Plummer). I am wondering if there are any other films similar in terms of the supernatural theme and time travelling all set in the turn of the century, the Victorian era as well, or even the early 1920s? One film and novel that comes to mind is Picnic at Hanging Rockas it does interweave some supernaturalism/time travel set in 1900 I believe.
posted by RearWindow to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Kate and Leopold would seem to do it.
The 2002 version of The Time Machine is really really bad, but still fits the bill. Surely there are other movie versions of the Wells book, too.
I'm sure there are plenty of others but I need more caffeine before I list them.
posted by Dr. Wu at 9:06 AM on May 20 [3 favorites]

Steampunk is a term that often combines fantasy and the Victorian era. You might enjoy The Prestige and/or The Illusionist.
posted by soelo at 9:09 AM on May 20 [1 favorite]

Time After Time might be right up your alley. It's a movie about HG Wells tracking Jack the Ripper through time from the Victorian era to the world of "today" (1979). Sort of a reversed chronology to Somewhere in Time and more a romantic thriller, but well done for its day. It stars Malcolm McDowell, David Warner, and Mary Steenburgen.
posted by gusottertrout at 9:26 AM on May 20 [13 favorites]

I loved Midnight in Paris, Owen Wilson catches a taxi and ends up in the 20s with many famous actors, but it is a Woody Allen film.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:30 AM on May 20 [1 favorite]

Winter's Tale (not the Shakespeare play, but a movie set in New York starring Colin Farrell and Russell Crowe).

One review described it thus: While the trailers and television spots for “Winter’s Tale” are selling it as a sweeping, time-traveling romance, the opening sequences make it very clear that the movie is more like what would happen if Nicholas Sparks wrote “Cloud Atlas“—there are a number of timelines, some supernatural elements, and a whole lot of breathy narration about miracles and chance and fate.

However - and don't say I didn't warn you - the reviews are almost universally scathing, but on the other hand, it also seems to be one of those so-bad-you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it movies.
posted by essexjan at 9:32 AM on May 20 [1 favorite]

This is kind of a cheapo TV movie but I saw it as a kid and remembered it - “The Two Worlds of Jenny Logan”. The main character puts on an antique dress and time travels to its heyday at exactly the turn of 19th / 20th century.
posted by ElasticParrot at 10:06 AM on May 20 [3 favorites]

Oh, so very very much seconding Time After Time. I truly love it.
posted by metabaroque at 10:32 AM on May 20 [1 favorite]

A few other possibilities of varying quality and lessening exactitude in fitting your request but perhaps along somewhat similar lines The first two I haven't seen, but seem to fit your request fairly well. The rest I have seen, enjoyed and somehow call to mind different aspects of Somewhere in Time, but aren't as precisely fit to it, offered in case they spark an interest.

The Love Letter, a tv movie where Campbell Scott plays a computer game designer who exchanges letters via a magical desk with a poet from the 1890s played by Jennifer Jason Leigh. (The movie Possession also might have some fit, though more in parallel romances across time than time travel)
A Mark Harmon movie, For All Time, a magic pocketwatch seems to be key in allowing Harmon's character to travel via train to the 1890's
Lost in Austen mini-series, where a Jane Austen fan of the present day finds she's somehow switched places with Elizabeth Bennett, the character from Pride and Prejudice.

A bit further afield there's movies like Brigadoon, if you don't mind musicals and aren't particular about the era being visited.
Orlando, which is too good to pass up mentioning for this ask, though it doesn't fit the precise request. Tilda Swinton plays Orlando, a character commanded by Elizabeth I to "never grow old" so he/she doesn't and moves through the centuries without aging.
Frankenstein Unbound is a weird time travel film that might drift rather too far from your request, where a man from the near future travels back in time and meets Dr Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, and their monstrous creation. (Also makes for an interesting double feature with either Haunted Summer or Gothic.)
If you don't mind old Hollywood there's also I'll Never Forget You, a 1951 Tyrone Power film where he plays a character who travels back to the 18th century and falls in love, or Portrait of Jennie a 1948 Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten film where a struggling painter in the 1930s finds inspiration in a young woman who seems to be out of touch with the time.
posted by gusottertrout at 11:07 AM on May 20 [2 favorites]

I have not seen these.
Outlander, a series in which An English combat nurse from 1945 is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743 Scotland. Books and show are
very popular.
The Lake House A lonely doctor, who once occupied an unusual lakeside house, begins exchanging love letters with its former resident, a frustrated architect. They must try to unravel the mystery behind their extraordinary romance before it's too late.
posted by theora55 at 11:23 AM on May 20 [2 favorites]

The French Lieutenant's Woman is more about lives that echo and blur across time than it is a supernatural or time-travelling story, but it still might scratch the itch you are wanting to scratch.
posted by baseballpajamas at 11:36 AM on May 20 [2 favorites]

A lesser entry in this category would be The Ruby Ring.

Possibly also check out Crusade in Jeans, though that is further back in the past and uses technology to get there.
posted by gudrun at 12:12 PM on May 20

I’ll suggest Dead Again, which is a enjoyably ludicrous romantic thriller starring young Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh. Not time travel, but reincarnation, which has a similar feel.
posted by roger ackroyd at 12:20 PM on May 20 [5 favorites]

Seconding Dead again - perennial favorite of mine.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 12:39 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]

Fanny and Alexander has the period setting and the supernatural themes that you like, but not time travel. It is a beautifully crafted film by Ingmar Bergman.
posted by Jane the Brown at 12:54 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]

Not a film, but you might enjoy reading the 1970 novel Time and Again, by Jack Finney. It employs a similar time travel mechanism, to similar effect, and is illustrated with a number of Victorian era photos. It seems likely to have influenced Bid Time Return, the novel on which Somewhere in Time was based.
posted by mumkin at 12:56 PM on May 20 [3 favorites]

About Time is a very charming movie about a man who inherits the ability to time travel (although within his lifetime, so less historical)
posted by jennypower at 1:43 PM on May 20 [2 favorites]

Outlander is pretty rapey, just FYI.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 2:00 PM on May 20 [3 favorites]

Billy Pilgrim is unstuck in time in the 1972 Slaughterhouse-Five film of Kurt Vonnegut's novel. (trailer)
posted by Rash at 7:22 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]

Re: Slaughterhouse Five, read the book.
Do the same with Winters Tale.
Also seconding Time and Again.

I will not comment on Fanny and Alexander and it's director who has never found a theme he couldn't drown in in a thick, heavy, slowly moving syrup of sorrow, but if that's your thing have uh, you know, fun.
posted by evilDoug at 10:06 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]

Since we are mentioning book versions, I very much enjoyed the original book version of Winter's Tale. The author, Mark Helprin, is rather more conservative than I like, but it never got in the way of enjoying the book.
posted by lhauser at 10:59 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]

Seconding "The Two Worlds of Jennie Logan" which seems to exactly fit your ask and is old enough to be available on YouTube. Sure, it is 1970s TV movie cheesy but rather sweet.

"The Love Letter," also mentioned above, is another of my favorites; not strictly time travel but communication between times, and the past action is set during the Civil War. It's based on a novel by Jack Finney.
posted by Preserver at 10:52 AM on May 22

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